Wednesday, 30 March 2011

China Open - Day three - Rocket blasted out of Beijing

Ronnie O'Sullivan's dismal form continued today as he crashed out of the China Open in the first round.

He was beaten 5-2 by Welshman Ryan Day and is now without a win in a ranking event match since last September in the World Open.

After withdrawing from both the Shanghai and German Masters already this season, it was questioned whether he'd even make the trip. He did show, but could do little to arrest his alarming dip in form.

At 2-1 up and with a 123 break under his belt, he was striking the cue ball beautifully and starting to look like the Ronnie of old. But after being pegged back to 2-2 by the interval, he imploded to defeat, missing yet more easy balls and looking drastically off his game.

It's been a complete non-season for the sport's most popular player. So much so, that he now seems to be going into his matches as the underdog in many people's eyes.

Problems away from the table have marred his season. But we should all remember, despite his vast talent, he is still human. Criticism has again been full on in the wake of his defeat, but I urge people to get off his back. Day didn't play to his maximum today, but definitely deserved to win. Some excellent long pots in the final frames helped him to victory.

For Ronnie's army of fans, I wouldn't hold your breath for a revival in Sheffield. You'd be silly to ever write him off completely, but it would be some turnaround, even by the standards of a genius to go and lift the world title now.

It's not pleasant watching Ronnie struggle so badly, but as the old cliche goes, form is temporary while class is permanent.

Elsewhere today, there were another seven first round matches played.

Among the best performers was Ali Carter, who beat his Essex neighbour Stuart Bingham 5-1 to progress. Judd Trump also put in a good display to see off Marco Fu 5-3, while Peter Ebdon defeated Gerard Greene 5-2.

John Higgins and Mark Selby will be breathing a sigh of relief in Beijing tonight. The Jester was given a run for his money against Chinese wildcard Tian Pengfei, before winning 5-3 and the Wizard of Wishaw beat Nigel Bond by the same scoreline, despite only leading for the first time in the match after frame seven.

One of the day's most entertaining games was between Ricky Walden and Martin Gould.

Gould had assumed control of the match, leading 4-2, but surrendered his lead to lose on a decider.

Robert Milkins provided the scalp of the day. He weighed in with the highest of the tournament so far, scoring an impressive 142 on route to beating Jamie Cope 5-3. The Shotgun now has it all to do in Sheffield to retain his place in the top 16.

Round of 16 draw:

Stephen Lee v Ryan Day
Stephen Hendry v Ding Junhui
Ali Carter v Marcus Campbell
Robert Milkins v Mark Selby
John Higgins v Ricky Walden
Li Hang v Shaun Murphy
Mark Davis v Judd Trump
Peter Ebdon v Neil Robertson

No comments:

Post a Comment